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Troubleshooting Your Cable Modem

Cable modems aren’t the best when it comes to streaming outbound video because they present a lot of problems that can be difficult to solve. We go into more detail here about that but if you’re unable to upgrade to a more reliable connection, such as fiber or metro ethernet, then this article can provide you with a rough guide on what to do when you have issues.

Call Your ISP

We can’t stress this point enough. Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) is providing you a service and if there is any question about the quality that you are being provided, you should call to them for answers.

The only authoritative source for diagnosing Internet problems is your Internet Provider

Questions To Ask

When talking to your ISP, there are a few terms that can be helpful in diagnosing problems.

  • Upstream Signal/Noise Ratio:
    This is a measurement of how clear the signal is
  • Upstream Power / Modulation:
    This is the strength of the signal transmitted by the cable modem
  • Confirm Outgoing Bandwidth:
    You have a plan that guarantees a minimum amount of outgoing bandwidth. You’ll want to confirm

CHAMP recommends 5Mbps of outgoing bandwidth per stream

Best Practices for proper HD Streaming

Should I Just Buy More Bandwidth?

Probably not. As long as you have at least 5Mbps of outgoing bandwidth reserved for your Champ Encoder, buying more is rarely the solution. Again, this is about quality, not quantity. If the quality of bandwidth that you are getting is poor (that is, it’s good for a bit, but has drop-outs or congestion), getting more of it is likely not going to help.

Instead of just upgrading what you have, perhaps other options are available, such as fiber. That said, if a cable modem is the only solution available, many times the cable company will advise to increase bandwidth – that is a decision between you and your cable provider. They may indicate to reach speeds to 5Mbps reliably, you’d need to purchase the 10Mbps package.

Self-Diagnosing The Problem

Most cable modems have some type of web page that can provide you some diagnostics and details about your connection. This information can be critical in understanding common connection issues.

A helpful guide in understanding the cable modem that you have is offered by SpeedGuide.net and can be found here.

A popular modem type is Motorola – they have a nice guide for what the values should be here.

Next Steps

Have questions? Please feel free to reach out – it’s always free (and easy) to talk to us!

Also, we’re super passionate about networks and monitoring, as it’s fundamental to our service. We’ll gladly share what we know, point you in the right direction, give you tips to set up a proper monitoring platform for yourself, or provide network monitoring and traffic shaping as part of your service.

Updated on May 18, 2020

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